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Common Core Test: Can Smarter Balanced Scores Be Compared to State Test Results? Surprising Answer Is Yes

Proponents of the lofty Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced tests to measure if students have learned them have trumpeted how much more analytical and challenging the new standards and tests are.

Not surprisingly, a lot of teachers and parents have questioned how a student’s or school’s performance on those tests could possibly be accurately and fairly compared to scores from the old, easier, all-multiple-choice state reading and math tests.

“Statisticians are faced with a significant obstacle in drawing correlating test scores due to the basic design of the two tests being so different,” said Melissa Goff, assistant superintendent of Portland Public Schools, where officials have protested plans to use Smarter Balanced scores from this spring’s first statewide use of the test.

But experts say they do, indeed, have scientifically valid way to compare the new and old scores — for students and schools.